My Old Friend

13 Oct

 

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The bizarre and heart-wrenching story of our oldest pet’s tribulations this past year or two spun me hard for a minute, and led to the painful birth of this poem.  I’m not maudlin about pets, especially cats, but Coco is special.  It’s hard to keep these types of verses from being corny, but the effort to avoid such I think led me to some of my favorite phrasing ever.

Click Here to listen to me recite it, or read below on your own.

 

My old friend had found us

At the bottom of despair

And let us hang around him 

As we made our way from there.

 

He came to us in chaos,

He purred us into peace

He pardoned hearts imprisoned 

Upon granting their release.

 

Birth and Death, Divorce and worse,

He suffered other pets

He murdered critters in the yard

And flabbergasted vets.

 

A broken fang from fighting, 

A tendency to roam,

He disappeared a fortnight once, 

And found his way back home. 

 

The road was rough for Tabby tough,

Transitioning of late.

Now deliverance awaited

Down the interstate. 

 

But Irony presses the fabric of life

In a wrinkle-free garment from hell;

And my old friend who mended hearts

Would crush them just as well. 

 

Road trip, rest stop, food and water

Hours from the end.

Couple hundred miles, 

A brand new home for my old friend.

 

But freedom beckons boldly

Of a cold Kentucky dawn;

My travel buddy bolted

For the woods across the lawn

 

I followed, flailing, logic bailing,

Failing to discuss,  

That losing sight of my old friend

Would mean the end of us.

 

A dismal fog of doom descended, 

Dimming daybreak’s flush

I thrust into the thicket, 

Over logs and underbrush

 

Bramble flayed my flesh to mesh

With fire in my breast.

The Wolf of Truth consumed my soul,

Mosquitoes ate the rest.

 

Of course my pal outpaced me quick,

As cats are keen to do,

But I swear I saw him smiling

As he faded from my view.

 

Hawk, she screams from high above, 

Mourning dove, she moans.

Crow she cackles, Owl she hoots, 

In haunting, taunting tones. 

 

Cricket chirps a marching dirge 

To measure my defeat

Squirrel hurls insults

At my pussified retreat.

 

Blue Jay scolded, “stupid man, 

your friend is gone for good!”

And Nature’s mocking music 

Thus expelled me from the wood.

 

Coyote howls to greet the day, 

Cougar hunts alone.

And all nine lives of every cat 

Remain, in fact, his own.

 

To Bear the pain was down to me, 

My friend was unafraid.  

So I took one final look 

Into the trees beyond the glade.

 

A Frog of grieving choked my throat, 

I croaked his name and then,

I finally, broken-hearted, 

Drove away from my old friend.

Texas

29 Sep

Ever wonder why the song isn’t called “Deep in the Mind of Texas”?

Of course you haven’t…. why would you?

Stupid texas

Aron Ra had to post recently about how he was testifying before the Texas state “Bored of Education”, as he calls it, regarding that it’s attempt to rewrite history, and subsequently the history books, to portray America as a Christian nation, founded on the ten commandments, among other monkey-headed fundamentalist stupidity.

It makes me wonder if the entire legislature in Texas is a blinking mob of imbeciles who really buy this nonsense, or a giant conspiracy of incredibly cynical evildoers with no whiff of Christian conscience whatsoever?   I wonder if there’s a blend?  A tiny band of string-pullers, and a huge assembly of small-minded, backwater politicians, as easily wagged by the tail as their pin-headed constituency.  I hope at least there’s some bizarre, Eyes Wide Open-style hedonism cult at work to make it more interesting…

To call Texas backwards is to insult all directional vectors, everywhere.  To call them dangerous is accurate.  They write the textbooks, and they well impress the smaller redneck states with their assumed ability to kick most of the world’s nation’s asses all by their lonesome.

Just as Catholics who continue to attend mass are supporting pedophilia, Texans who continue to live in Texas and don’t speak up about this immeasurably perilous development in a critical time in our nation’s history are part of the problem.  Every right-thinking Texan, secular and otherwise, needs to fight this, and stop it now, as tho’ ’twere cancer, because it is.  Just as most Christians are too busy with Capitalism to really be good Christians, most secularists are too busy with the same thing to fight the thing that will eventually kill what they love.

It’s a war that could easily be won with a concentrated effort on an intellectual battlefield, and that’s where the war must be fought.  After all it’s Texas, and it’s too big to just go kick its ass, even for Aron Ra.

Weed-Whippin’ Nuns

4 Jun

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Orthodox nuns are out whippin’ weeds.

“Because Jesus provides, but the garden has needs.”,

Says sister Joanna, adjusting her grip

On a finely tuned 2.5 horsepower whip.

Squeezing the trigger and ripping the cord,

She’s whippin’ the weeds and avenging the Lord.

 

She’s whippin’ the weeds from the vegetable plot,

Dressed all in black, not matter how hot.

She’s whippin’ the weeds that threaten the orchard,

And there by that statue of God being tortured.

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Conventual nuns, as a rule, are serene,

But check out the guns on sister Helene!

Adding the oil and stirring the mix

In a whimple, a frock, and a wood crucifix.

 

Sister Calista and Sister Brianne

Are whippin’ together whenever they can.

They whip by the fountain, they whip by the stream,

They see themselves whippin’ at night when they dream

They whip Creeping Charlie before he can creep,

They’re whippin’ themselves every eve ere they sleep.

They’re whippin’ the ragweed before it can rag,

On weekends they’re whippin’ each other, in drag.

It seems in the summer they’re whippin’ all week,

But no one whips weeds like an Orthodox Greek.

 

Sister Felicia holds forth in the chapel:

“This Order’s whipped weeds since Eve bit the apple,

For sins are but weeds in the landscape of life,

And weeds therefore sins, and the garden is rife.

We once had a novice, a sinner, it’s true,

Whose patch was infested with Wandering Jew!

Her garden and soul hid a snake in the grass,

So I whipped her with Scripture; the Jew I used gas.

So arise noble nuns, like Christ from the crypt,

And weed-whip those fuckers like Jesus was whipped!”

 

No clover, no burdock, no thistle is safe

From the orthodox nuns and their sisterly strafe

Of head-bump advanceable green nylon line,

At a two hundred forty-eight decibel whine

Of twelve hundred rpm sweeping attack,

With goggles for safety and God at their back.

 

Hell hath no fury like orthodox nuns

In sensible shoes, with athletic buns.

Two-stroke disciples of Stratton and Briggs,

Beating back nature with weed-whippin’ rigs.

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KUSD gets Public Schooled

13 Feb

Sometimes the universe gives you a present. Which is nice, because sooner or later of course, it will exact from you the ultimate price.  The hunter who finds a box of shells doesn’t ask questions.  He goes hunting.  So when a public school teacher wallpapers a 4th grade classroom with the bible, the classroom of the child of a militant atheist activist, well…..what’s the old saying?  You never look a gift horse in the mouth.  You get on it and ride.

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Below is a link to a masterpiece of legalese, forged at the fingertips of one of FFRF’s finest.  The letter is the result of the refusal of teacher, principal or assistant superintendent to respond appropriately to numerous complaints from students and parents alike to an obvious and egregious violation of the establishment clause.

FFRF letter to Kenosha USD, WI

The real credit goes to the students themselves, as well as other parents in the class.  You see, this isn’t just some random class of early elementary tots, susceptible to basic indoctrination techniques .  This was a fourth grade “enrichment” class, Kenosha’s advanced placement students, the brightest of the bright.  These 9 and 10-year-olds already well understood what the principal himself claimed ignorance of:  Bible verses on the wall of the public school are illegal, unconstitutional and unethical.   FFRF sternly warns of the appearance of a pattern of tolerance of religiosity in Kenosha Unified Public School District, including the continued use of creationist compound Camp Timber-lee, whose mission it is to convert all children, and teach them to question evolution when they return to school.

The real shame of course, is the lack of actual learning that goes on in an “enrichment’ class.  Instead of science posters and real thoughts from the founders, these kids get subjective morality and identity politics.  Further, the proselytizing falls on deaf ears and rolling eyes., wasting valuable class time.  The kids whose parents have already indoctrinated them to Christianity are also being under-served by this waste of time, because they’re on board with the message, but still need to learn the actual curriculum.  The others reflect today’s society.  A couple of Pagans, a atheist or two,  a Muslim, a Buddhist, the odd Jewish kid and a whole bunch more “nons” than ever before.  Heck it’s Wisconsin.  There might even be a Hmong among us.

Although teachers need to be aware of the changing demographic (gone are the days when everybody really was Christian, and were taught about Jews like some wacky uncle you might meet one day), this incident points out exactly why it should never come up.   Children from every religious tradition deserve the same access to proper education.

This is FFRF-SEW’s second successful removal of inappropriate religion from the public school systems in SE Wisconsin.  Last year, concerned parents’ complaints led to the end of  the Bristol, WI school district’s unnatural relationship with Christian firm Thrivent Financial.

 

 

Mythicistopia

7 Jan

When cobbling together the street map for “Infidelphia”, the fictional county served by the virtual railway Atheist Underground, one of the first stops I knew we’d need would be one based on mythicism.  (For anyone who hasn’t checked it out, all the towns in Infidelphia have made-up names reflecting some aspect of the atheist movement: Secularia, Humanistopolis, Rational City, etc.) Having largely come up into secularism with a band of Christ Myth zealots, and having discovered dystopia in the world of community organizing in general, the mash-up “Mythicistopia” seemed quite apropos.

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Sadly, that dysfunction continued right onto the train itself, manifesting in the perplexing loss of our co-founder, who was also sound editor, executive producer and studio head, and at whose prodding we had happily walked away from the old show with gaudy assurances of dedication to a happy new endeavor.

Alas, it turns out some of us are activists, and some of us are dilettantes, the latter having rather quickly shaken loose, as chaff from wheat.  C’est la vie….

Now, after a 6 month delay on a monthly show, learning how to edit sound from scratch, and finishing a massive story on penises that was not my idea to undertake, the new podcast is finally out!  In spite of some sound-level issues, on account of my newbie-ness, I’m really happy with this one and I think the material is stronger throughout.

As for mythicism, it remains open to debate whether it constitutes a part of the secular movement at all, and recent events have redoubled my doubt.  The main proponents of Christ mythicism seem to recognize their limited draw will quite naturally tap from the larger keg of skepticism, but have little or no dedication to the needs of the movement or the people in it.  We’re fed a constant stream of unwinnable debates and dry New Testament bickering while secular folk looking for a political ally and an inclusive freethought community walk away neglected, under-served and even offended.  Imagine having a cool Minotaur costume for a mascot, a willing ally in Greece itself, and yet never even talking about Greek mythology.

For our brand of mythicism, we talk to a pagan priestess about traditional Norse mythology/religion instead of tired old Jesus.  We look at the myths surrounding the barbaric practice of circumcision in part one of the big penis story.  We needle another noodge who’s trying to prove the big Myth of creationism, and lot’s more…

You can listen to all the shows for free on the website atheistunderground.com or on iTunes. If you think the show is worth a dollar a month, please consider pledging on Patreon:

 

Thanks to the rest of the team and to all for their patience.  The train is back on schedule, and will continue to pick up steam.

And steam punks I hope.  Love those guys.

 

 

Atheist Underground Debuts in Skepticsburg

11 Mar

The new podcast, which has been taking time away from everything else, including blogging, has launched.  The team has worked really hard to put together a show with this kind of production value and it shows.  The episode contains a great interview piece with four stories woven together, the return of “Weather Jesus”, and more.  Please listen and rate us on iTunes so we can keep the train rolling.

You can listen on the website too, read about the episode, and sign up for the newsletter there.  Also, please consider supporting us on Patreon.  One dollar per show that you won’t even notice missing from your wallet, but that will help keep us taking the piss out of religion and helping to mainstream secularism in America and beyond.

Mind the Gap, Enjoy the Ride!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/atheist-underground/id1209845072?mt=2

Freethought means Atheism, not Anarchy

8 Jan

Just as freedom of speech does not give one the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, the coined word “Freethought”, as it relates to secularism, does not mean every kind of fringe spiritualist and conspiracy theory whack-job who embraces his imagination as proof.  The word was actually invented as a naked synonym for atheism, signifying a freedom from the thought control tactics of the church, and an insistence on evidence-based decision-making (itself a restriction of that freedom, but that’s another bit altogether).  It’s an unfortunate choice of words as it turns out, for after a good century of stagnation, especially in the New World, the resurrected term connotes something very different to many new listeners.  No one can be blamed for assuming that freethought means complete philosophical liberty of the sort enjoyed by many college-aged cognates as they stretch their youthful imaginations once more before settling inevitably on the obvious.  All of us who have clambered down the cobbled path of community organization in this growing movement of the non-religious have had to answer the same difficult question:

Will our secular group include fringe spiritualists who oppose theocracy yet cleave to some form of magic-based belief system?

This may include, among myriad others, Alien origin theorists, New Age Quasi-Buddhists, Pseudo-science practitioners, Wiccans, pagans, Jedis, Gnostics, and Unitarians.  Does their assistance in the fight against the Christian right outweigh the potential upset they bring to the sanctum of reason many atheists expect from their local organizations?  Take a closer look and the conundrum has layers. The crystal-lady likes the solstice party for sure, but she freaks out the “freethinker” whose stringent brand of secularism brooks no speak of spirituality.  Sadly. her inclusion in the community can hearken of hypocrisy to detractors of  the movement in general.  One such visionary, who believed that every myth that was ever invented was a valid manifestation of the same revealed truth, appeared at an atheist gathering.  A gathering of atheists, that is, who chose to leave the word “atheist’ out of their name in favor of the pandering euphemism that “freethinker” has become.  When he stated for the room that Jesus Christ was Lord and so was Odin, and Pele and countless others, heads exploded.  He was quickly expelled….for being the freest thinker at the freethought moot.  The community lost an ally….one with great energy and a true disdain for the religious establishment.

The answer is not that difficult to conjure.  In these days of failing atheist conventions, anyone who wants to be a respectful sponsor should be allowed to participate in our larger events.  Heck if they’re willing to pay the sponsor fee and take the grief,  I’d consider letting  religious groups table at my conference.  Let them try to change minds, it’s liable to make for a more interesting event in any case.  We already see unprecedented cooperation between secular groups of differing stripes at the larger gatherings, putting aside their quibbling differences to present a united front.  We need the the fringe spiritualists in this number, for it is they, along with atheists, who understand and value true freedom of religion.

Meanwhile, if you want to have an atheist group that’s a safe haven for atheists, try calling it that.  Because if you hang a shingle with the word “freethinker” on it, that’s what you’re going to get.  It is known.